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Monday, October 2, 2023

County’s unemployment rises slightly in January

By Josh Pike | Staff Writer

According to a March 14 press release from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Archuleta County’s unemployment rate for the month of January rose to 3.8 percent after dropping to 3.4 percent for the month of December 2021.

This rise in unemployment is a change from the general trend of declining unemployment across 2021.

After the start of the pandemic, the county’s unemployment rate rose to 6.2 percent in March 2020, then to 15.1 percent. The county’s unemployment rate declined every other month last year, with the exception of June, when it was reported at 5.3 percent after dropping to 4.8 percent in May, and November, where the unemployment rate rose from 3.6 in October to 4.0.

From December 2021 to January 2022, Archuleta County’s labor force shrunk from 7,258 to 7,121.

For the month of January, there were 6,849 individuals employed in Archuleta County, according to the press release. This figure is down slightly from the December 2021 report of 7,008 individuals employed in Archuleta County.

County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

According to the press release, the county with the highest unemployment rate for January was Huerfano County at 7.2 percent, followed by Pueblo County at 6.3 percent.

Next is Rio Grande County at 5.7 percent, then Las Animas and Rio Grande counties at 5.6 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.2 percent in December 2021 to 4.1 percent for January.

The state’s labor force grew from 3,170,700 for December 2021 to 3,187,400 in January.

The press release notes, “According to the survey of households, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased in January to 4.1 percent from the revised December rate of 4.2 percent. Colorado’s unemployment rate of 4.1 percent marks the lowest level since it was 2.8 percent in February 2020. The national unemployment rate moved upward by one-tenth of a percentage point from December to 4.0 percent.”

Employers in Colorado added 6,700 nonfarm payroll jobs from December 2021 to January, bringing the total number of jobs in Colorado to 2,812,500.

Nonfarm payroll jobs measure the number of workers excluding farmers.

The private sector added 6,300 nonfarm payroll jobs and the government sector added 400 jobs.

The press release notes that, over the past 21 months, Colorado has gained back 368,400 of the 374,500 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of 2020. 

“That translates to a job recovery rate of 98.4 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 86.9 percent,” the press release states.

The press release also states, “After annual revisions and the January gain of 6,300, Colorado’s private sector has fully recovered jobs lost in early 2020. Since May 2020, the state has added 370,000 private sector payroll jobs, compared to losses totaling 358,800 in March and April 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 103.1 percent and outpaces the U.S. rate of 89.8 percent.”

Private-industry sectors with significant job gains in January included:

• Construction at about 2,000.

• Professional and business services at about 1,900.

• Trade, transportation and utilities at about 1,100.

• Manufacturing at about 1,000.

The press release notes there were no industries with significant over-the-month declines.

It further notes, “Since January 2021, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 147,500, with the private sector growing by 134,200 jobs and government adding an additional 13,300 jobs,” the press release notes.

Since January 2021, the largest private-sector job gains include:

• Leisure and hospitality at about 64,800.

• Professional and business services at about 30,800.

• Trade, transportation and utilities at about 11,000.

No industry experienced significant job losses over this period of time.

The press release notes that Colorado’s rate of job growth over the past year is 5.5 percent, compared to the U.S. rate of 4.6 percent.

According to the press release, “Over the year, the average workweek for all Colorado employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased from 33.5 to 33.6 hours, while average hourly earnings rose from $31.12 to $34.27, two dollars and sixty-four cents more than the national average hourly earnings of $31.63.”


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